"Looking at the Wrong King"
In the time of Herod, king of Judea . . . – Luke 1:5
King Herod the Great was the most powerful man in all of Judea. He built ostentatious palaces and a city on the Mediterranean that rivaled Rome. He could have anything money could buy or power could capture. His subjects were jealous and made jokes about how much food one of Herod’s palaces could buy. They knew Herod was selfish and insecure, but the insidious thing was, in their secret thoughts, everyone wanted to be Herod. The selfish oppressor had all the power and money, and that was what his subjects thought they wanted.
While everyone was looking at Herod, a new king—the promised Messiah—was born in the most humble and inconspicuous circumstances imaginable. The surroundings of his simple birth set the stage for his life of selflessness and love. A new kingdom had come and almost no one recognized it. It was not what they expected.
Today, strong oppressors abound in this world and people suffer. Seemingly unlimited power and money have a tendency to corrupt, but humankind still desires both. We hate oppressive leaders, but we still desire what they have.
I sometimes think, If I had a kingdom, I would do things differently. Actually, I am part of a kingdom—the greatest kingdom on earth led by an all-powerful King who has very specific things for me to do.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor. – Isaiah 61:1–2
I am so thankful for my King, but the noise of other kings sometimes blurs my vision. Thankfulness needs to give way to action. Great blessing is a trust, a responsibility. The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me. The magic of Christmas is that my King has chosen me to be an active part of proclaiming good news to the poor by my actions.
So, what am I to do? Who am I to help? I find great comfort in knowing that my King has already determined that. I just need to ask, listen, and be willing to act.